Terry Francona has removed Chris Perez from the closer’s role

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Indians closer Chris Perez has allowed a total of six runs in his last two appearances and has a 7.52 ERA since the start of August. As a result, manager Terry Francona has removed him from the closer’s role, reports WTAM’s Nick Camino.

On the season, Perez has a career-worst 4.33 ERA in 54 innings, converting 25 of 30 save opportunities.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that Joe Smith or Justin Masterson could be used as the team’s closer going forward. Winners of seven in a row and 12 of their last 14, the Indians are clutching onto a one-game lead over the Rangers for the second AL Wild Card with three games remaining. They trail the Rays for the first Wild Card spot by one game.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.